Sunday, July 24, 2005

he used to go stag, now he's got a hag

I'm a massive fan of Tom Waits, right up to and including last year's "Real Gone" album.

I love all the mad "Kurt-Weil-meets- Captain-Beefheart" stuff, the mad music-hall tunes, the storytelling, the human beatbox, the shouting and the bonerattling.

But I also love this stuff. Recorded in 1971, this at first sounds like a totally different person - where did the later crazed barking voice come from?? But if you listen carefully. it's still him - the beautifully written portraits of damaged people, the wry sense of humour and the real sense of songwriting craft.

This guy really knows what he's doing; the lyrics are fantastic (if you can listen to "Poncho's Lament" without feeling a little bit teary, then I don't think there's much hope for you) and even though the settings are a bit more low-key and maybe a bit more trad, you can see links to what he did later. Including an obsession with people called Frank.

Tom Waits - Poncho's Lament 
Tom Waits - I'm Your Late Night Evening Prostitute 
Tom Waits - Frank's Song

[songs not available online]

I think I read somewhere that Tom Waits hates this stuff himself - with the greatest of respect, I think he's missing a trick.

Visit Tom Waits 
Buy The Early Years Vol. 1

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